St Swithun’s Day at Winchester

if you are setting out on the Pilgrims’ Way from Winchester this weekend you will find it’s St Swithun’s Day.

On Sunday, being the eve of St Swithun’s Day, the First Festal Evensong of St Swithun at Winchester Cathedral is at 3.30pm.

The St Swithun’s Day choral evensong, attended by all Winchester canons, on Monday 15 July is at 5.30pm.

Both services are live streamed on the cathedral website.

*** St Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, died on 2 July 863 which is the date on which Norway observes St Swithun’s Day. The 15 July is the Translation of St Swithun recalling his body being moved on this day in 971 from the outside burial ground into the Old Minster (outlined in grass on cathedral’s north side). The body was moved again twice: in 1093, into the new cathedral, and in 1096 within the cathedral -always on 15 July.

*** The popular rhyme claiming that if it rains on 15 July it will rain for forty days dates from the 13th-century. The origin is a mystery but the shrine canopy features rain and sun. The weather forecast for Monday is rain.

*** If you are setting out from Southwark Cathedral you will find St Swithun and St Thomas Becket depicted together among the saints on the great screen behind the high altar.

St Swithun’s shrine at Winchester Cathedral.
St Swithun (second left) at Southwark Cathedral holding the bridge he built over the River Itchen. Next to Swithun is St Thomas Becket (right).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *